Sonia Sotomayor is Born

Sonia Maria Sotomayor was born in the Bronx, a borough of New York City.

Her father, Juan Sotomayor, had a third-grade education and did not speak English. He was from the Santurce area of San Juan. Her mother, Celina Báez (born 1927), was from the neighborhood of Santa Rosa in Lajas, a still mostly rural area on Puerto Rico's southwest coast. They left Puerto Rico, met, and married during World War II after Celina served in the Women's Army Corps. He worked as a tool-and-die worker and she as a telephone operator and then a practical nurse. Sonia's younger brother, Juan Sotomayor (born c. 1957), is a physician and university professor in the Syracuse, New York, area.

In her remarks, Sotomayor said, "The progression of my life has been uniquely American," that of a child of Puerto Rican parents who moved to New York during World War II. "I want to make one special note of thanks to my mom," she said. "I am here today because of her aspirations and sacrifices for my brother Juan and me."